On Wednesday we went to the Lower 9th Ward which was the area most devasted by the levy breaking. I was actually able to go up and touch the levy that failed, granted, I was touching the new addition to the levy. It was a very emotional experience to be the place where it all started. I was walking down the street at one point and saw a family sitting on their porch. I asked them how they were doing that day and only the older man really responded, but he responded cheerfully. He then turned around and asked me how I was doing... couldn't say that I could complain.
It was very surreal to be driving and walking through that area. There was also a very interesting dynamic: one area had some nice new modern houses that were being built for the "Make It Right" project, while the rest of the area had empty lots, destroyed homes, and few homes re-built by owners. I saw shoes and cushions, amongst other debris that was still left over. As I was finishing walking around I came up to this yellow house. It was very broken and damaged, but you could see inside, where perhaps a door used to be. I stepped onto the grass to get a better look and sitting right inside amidst all the rubble was this dirty yellow Tonka truck. It gave me the chills. To think that the house was still in that condition really bothered me. I couldn't believe that after 5 years, we're still at the point that we are in the "re-building process." It absolutley blows my mind.
Going down to the lower 9th Ward was an incredible, emotional, and very humbling experience. It was a perfect reminder of why all of us are here and why these opportunities to do service-learning are beyond crucial for each and every one of us, no matter which side of the service-learning we're on.
-Mikaela Fisher, '11